How Resilient Are You?

HOW RESILIENT ARE YOU?

I recently watched the movie “Free Solo” and I have been obsessed with Alex Honnold because I feel that he is someone who exemplifies resilience.  The dictionary defines resilience as toughness and the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It is the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape and elasticity.  Synonyms for resilience are flexibility, pliability, suppleness, and plasticity. Being resilient is the opposite of being rigid, fragile and weak. When faced with adversity or setbacks,  resilient people focus on positive attitude and optimism.  

If you did not see the movie, or are not familiar with rock climbing, go watch it.   Alex is not just any rock climber. He is the first and only person to “free solo” ( meaning climb without ropes or a harness) on some of the highest and most dangerous rocks or  mountains in the world. Alex is impressive because many of those who have attempted to free solo have fallen to their death, on even lesser climbs. He, however, found a way to replace fear with clarity; to regulate his emotions and apply self discipline and hard work to climbing  the most epic walls-- with incredible speed. Check out a brief list below:

*First and only free-solo of “Freerider” El Capitan, Yosemite, CA – 5 hr 13m.

*Speed record on "The Nose" of El Capitan with Tommy Caldwell – 1:58:07

*Yosemite’s first “Triple Solo”: Mt. Watkins, Half Dome and El Capitan alone, in under 24 hours

*First ascent of the Fitz Traverse, Patagonia with Tommy Caldwell

*First and only free-solo of the Moonlight Buttress, Zion National Park, UT –  5.12d, 1,200 feet.

Now, you and I do not have to climb El Capitan to prove our resilience.  But sometimes doing our own work can feel like we are climbing an impossible mountain.  Failure or disappointment can send us off track and make us believe that we are not good enough and will never accomplish our goals and reach our dreams.  This is where resilience comes in.  Resilience is not a magical quality that is gifted only to people like Alex.  It is a character quality that each of us can develop . There are so many different ways to build resilience.  I want to share with you three simple points to focus on to strengthen your resilience and to get back up and show up strong:  They are BE DO & HAVE:  

  • BE:  Identify who you are or who you want to be:  Who are you and What do you want to be and Why?  What is your purpose in this world? What is your gift?    What do you want to be? A rock climber, a teacher, an entrepreneur and what is your big why?  Knowing your purpose and who you are will help you to return to your big why during times of challenge and to find your way back to resilience so you can keep on BEing.

  • DO:    What do you need to DO in order to BE?  Alex started climbing rocks when he was 9 years old.  He lives in a van so he can easily travel to the elements and practice daily.  What preliminary steps that you need to put in place; What physical shape do you need to BE in  and what do you need to do to get there?   What sacrifices do you need to consider making? Identifying the necessary preliminary steps that will lead you to your goals is a basic requirement to getting there and setting up realistic and measurable steps is key to success. DOING the work to get there and becoming proficient in the beginning stages of any endeavor will build the skills, proficiency, knowledge  to BE resilient and DO your work.

  • HAVE:  What do you want to have? A  world record?  Help the world? Be your own boss?  Your own schedule? Social Justice?  Knowing what you want to have will help you develop the ability to cultivate physical, mental and spiritual toughness so you can stick to your commitments when things fall apart and return to your big Why and build more resilience.  


On the road to our dreams, we will experience failure, disappointment, fallback, injury and we may never even reach our ultimate goal and may face grave misfortune.  If we are resilient, we will learn how to move forward or change course. Setbacks are an opportunity to cultivate even more resilience as we look back and find ways to use mindfulness to regulate our emotions , analyze failure,  and gain feedback about how to restart and be more productive the next time.

Resilient people are those who have developed their ability to let go of the story and not fall into victim and villain, but instead work to quickly SHIFT back to their commitment.  Resilient people allow for space to feel their pain, disappointment and  loss and find the mental and spiritual strength to restart, to get up, to practice over and over again and become even stronger.  

How about you?  What’s the story that you are making up about your own personal or professional setback?

Are you blaming yourself?

Do you wallow in your inadequacy?   

Are you able to accept loss, and failure injury?   My personal practice for resilience begins with the Four A’s.


  • ACKNOWLEDGE:  Rather than wallowing in pain and disappointment, get  curious. I ask myself: what can I acknowledge about this set back?  What did I lose? What is the situation? What went wrong. This is a great time to look at the facts and examine the situation fully in all aspects.  Resilience requires knowledge about yourself and your situation.

  • ALLOW:   Then I get curious about my feelings and allow time to feel,  sadness, anger, frustration. I don’t allow myself to pretend that anything is pleasant or unpleasant.  If I need to shed some tears, or scream to let go of my anger and frustration, I let myself do that because feelings my emotions allows the energy to flow through and not get stuck.

  • ACCEPT - Accepting myself  just as I AM with those feeling is an important step in resilience.    Can I allow all those feelings to be there and accept myself in all my sadness, fear, anger?

  • APPRECIATE:  A most important aspect or resilience is appreciation.  After acknowledging a situation; feeling your feelings and accepting them, it’s time to look at what you can appreciate.  Maybe you can appreciate what you have learned along the way. Can you be grateful for the experience itself; the small successes along the way; the people you have helped, served, met, connected with, acquired knowledge? If there is nothing else maybe just appreciate  that you are still breathing and get to live another day.


The 4 A’s never fail me.  Even in situations when I have experienced deep failure and disappointment there is always something that I can find to appreciate about myself or the situation and use that to MOVE on.  

Serena Williams is an Energy Queen

Serena Williams is an Energy Queen

If you watched Wimbledon this week, you would have witnessed a true Energy Queen in action.  The story book ending would have ended with Serena Williams winning the tournament and twirling her way around the court and accepting the large gold plate and gracefully congratulating her opponent.     As much as we wanted this to be true, real life situations don’t typically have fairy tale endings, but the completion of this tournament was for me a demonstration of a true energy Queen in action. Serena is a living example of someone who has figured out how to access her physical, mental, emotional and spiritual power so that she can do her work in the world.  

लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु

Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu

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I was thinking about my message for the month of May and this mantra popped into my mind: Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu.  I think it’s because the English translation of the mantra begins with the word, “May”.  "May all beings everywhere be happy and free."

“Man” is mind and “Tra” is vehicle.  A mantra is a sacred word we can repeat to affirm something to ourselves and allow that meaning to merge into our subconscious and to bring about a positive pattern or habit.  To me, a mantra is a way of praying and this particular mantra has been passed down through generations by way of oral tradition. A more detailed translation is: “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may my thoughts, words, and actions contribute in some way to happiness and freedom for all.”

The Sanskrit breakdown of this peace mantra is as follows:

  • lokah: location, realm, all universes existing now

  • samastah: all beings sharing that same location

  • sukhino: centered in happiness and joy, free from suffering

  • bhav: the divine mood or state of unified existence

  • antu: may it be so, it must be so (antu used as an ending here transforms this mantra into a powerful pledge)

    When we add the “Lokah” mantra to our yoga practice, we affirm our capacity to create freedom and happiness in the lives of others. Mother Teresa reminded us that “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”   For me, praying this mantra is a way to do something small and great because of its power to make available happiness and freedom to every creature, everywhere.

    “May all beings everywhere be happy and free." mantra also reminds me of the Buddhist Metta or Loving Kindness Prayer which is so simple, but so profound. This prayer begins by a repeating a blessing for oneself and then, expanding out by sending that blessing to our loved ones, the sick, and eventually to all beings, even our enemies and all creatures. There are many variations of the Metta meditation and you can even make up your own version to suit your intentions.

    The CHY family wishes to send you the following blessing:

    May you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be free from pain.  May your life be filled with happiness, health, and well-being.

     Namaste,

    Romy & the CHY Family

    Here is a one of my favorite versions of this mantra by Deva Premal

Are you feeling Springy?

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Check out my dear friend, Yogi Mojie as she shifts into Spring and battles cancer

Are you feeling Springy?     No? Maybe?
 

It maybe hard to feel springy when we just weathered one of the  coldest winters ever, and it snowed on April 2, but Spring is coming.  Pattabhi Jois, the great yoga Guru said: “ Practice and all is coming.”  While Spring is a time of rebirth and transition, you maybe feeling stuck or anxious and still thawing out from our beautiful but long winter.  It may be hard to shift out ot the winter hibernation, to shed your layers and have access to your vivacious energy and vitality. But just like yoga, we have to create practices that will help us make space to transition into a new season.  Shifting from winter to spring, physically and energetically will help us to refresh our bodies, homes, schedules and set intentions to ease into the season of rebirth.

Here are 5 of my favorite practices that I use to shift into Spring!

1. GET OUTSIDE-  This is the easiest way to shift your energy.  Step outside for short or long walks and take deep breaths.  Invite fresh air into your body and soothe your mind. Spend some time in silence out in nature and close your eyes and listen for the birds and the sounds of Spring.  

2. BRING SPRING IN -  Find ways to bring Spring indoors to you.  Essential oils are great for soothing the senses.  Use some of your favorite Spring scents like, lavender, and orange and spray your home, curtains and linens.  Adorn yourself with color: change out your pillows and tablecloths and bring out favorite colorful patterned clothing.  Place colorful flowers in beautiful vases around your home and even at work at your desk.

3. LET GO!-   Practice Aparigraha or letting go by decluttering you home, care, and office space.  Bring out your Spring wardrobe and donate everything that no longer lights you up! Keep only what makes your energy go up!  Try something new like a hair cut. I am loving mine! This is also a great time to assess how you spend your time and energy.  Review your commitments; notice how you are spending your time to see what you value and what serves you.

4. RADICAL SELF CARE!  Feel better by taking care of your body-  Visit your Chiropractor and get an adjustment; Get Acupuncture and prepare your body to transition energetically and stay ahead of the allergies that comes with the flowers.  Get a massage -Treat yourself to some good body work as this is one of the best self care tool.

5. PRACTICE YOGA -  To me the most important step to shifting into Spring is to Practice more of the 8- fold path of yoga.  Now is the best time to recommit to your practice. Our theme this month at CHY is Pranayama, or breathing.  Perfect timing to breathe new life into your practice. Join our newer pilates classes and strengthen your core and get ready for bathing suit season!

Inhale the new  and  Exhale the old!

Namaste,

The Art of Appreciation- Practice Makes Permanent

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In simple terms, appreciation is feeling grateful for what one has.  It's easy for most of us to feel appreciative when things are going our way to be thankful for our health, family, and the ability to live in this great country. Many would also agree that it's not so easy to be thankful in the midst of hardship or chaos. However, difficult times are when the practice of appreciation, like the practice of yoga actually begins. Despite whats going on around you, we can all set a conscious intention to be more appreciative and in doing so, elevate your life and the lives of those around you. There are four ways we can practice the "art of appreciation."

 

 1. Daily gratitude practice: Make time daily to reflect on how grateful you are for your life, family, health and children.

2. In times of difficulty, trauma, or even disaster consciously pause and note just one small thing to appreciate about that situation.

3. Become a master appreciator: Letting others know that we appreciate them is a powerful connector. Whether it's someone in our family, a coworker or an acquaintance, make time to notice something that you appreciate about them and then let them know. This does not have to be complex and awkward, the simpler the thought the better, but a little bit of gratitude can go a long way in building relationships.   

4. Practice receiving gratitude: When someone gives you an appreciation, allow yourself a moment to fully receive their sentiment, internalize it, and notice how the energy in your body goes up. Rather than deflecting it, say thank you and enjoy!  

 

Namaste,  

Romy